Image by Ammie Ngo

Fascinating vietnam,
cambodia & the mekong river

November 14-19, 2022
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), one-week Mekong River Cruise,
Ha Long Bay & Siem Reap

Introduction

The best way to see this fascinating, surprising and beautiful part of the world and meet its friendly people is on the specialty river-cruiser Avalon Saigon. The ship takes just 36 guests and is designed to venture easily into areas where other cruise ships cannot go. Thus the Saigon eliminates hours of motorcoach travel associated with other river-cruise itineraries in the region. 

Starting at $9990 per person, double occupancy.

Itinerary

Day 1, November 4

Our adventure begins in Hanoi, in northern Vietnam. On arrival, we’ll be whisked to the Intercontinental Westlake Hotel, where we’ll settle in and then relax by the pool or explore the neighborhood. In the early evening, we’ll get together for our traditional Meet & Greet dinner.

Included Meals – Dinner

Day 2, November 5

After breakfast we’ll begin with a guided tour to learn about Ho Chi Minh, the father of modern Vietnam. We’ll visit the humble cottage from which “Uncle Ho” led Vietnam until his death in 1969, and then we will visit his mausoleum, the Presidential Palace and the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison. After a stop at the ancient Temple of Literature, Hanoi’s first university, we’ll have lunch at Koto, a unique non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that teaches street children restaurant skills. Then we’ll ride electric carts through the city’s intriguing Old Quarter, the 36 ancient streets where merchants trade as they have for centuries. After dinner we’ll be treated to a performance by Hanoi’s renowned water puppets, a traditional art form dating from the 11th Century.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3, November 6

Today we travel by motorcoach from Hanoi through the countryside to Hon Gai, the gateway to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Gulf of Tonkin. The bay is dotted with more than 3,000 small limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes by wind and wave action. An excursion boat will take us to an island with a cave that we can explore with our guide. Tonight we’ll stay at the Wyndham Legend Hotel.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4, November 7

After breakfast we’ll drive back to Hanoi and board our flight south to Ho Chi Minh City, as Saigon is now known. There we’ll check into the Reverie Saigon Hotel. Dinner tonight is optional, either in the hotel or in the neighborhood.

Included Meals – Breakfast

day 5, november 8

Today we’ll take a walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s historic landmarks, including the Rex Hotel, where we’ll have a drink at the rooftop bar where the US Military held the infamous “Five O’Clock Follies” during the war. Next we’ll visit the War Remnants Museum and bustling Ben Thanh Market. At midday we’ll break for lunch at a hands-on Vietnamese cooking class, where we’ll learn to make several local dishes that we can then re-create at home. This afternoon we’ll have free time to explore the city and indulge in some retail therapy. Tonight’s special welcome dinner will be at a local restaurant.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

day 6, november 9

After breakfast we’ll drive out of the city for a guided visit to the legendary Cu Chi Tunnels—an extraordinary underground network more than 120 miles long that was used as a secret refuge by the Viet Cong. Today we’re on our own for lunch and dinner. From our hotel, we may want to stroll the tree-lined boulevards to visit shops and bistros in the neighborhood. Or a visit to the pool or spa may be in order. 

Included Meals – Breakfast

day 7, november 10

This is embarkation day—we’ll board our deluxe river cruiser, the Avalon Saigon, and settle into our suites. We’ll get acquainted with the ship and our new friends and then the only thing we have to do is relax and enjoy the scenery while we cruise downriver to Vinh Long, where we’ll stop for a reception this evening.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

day 11, november 8

This morning we’ll travel via sampan boat to a workshop in Vinh Long to see how rice paper, rice wine and traditional candies are made. After lunch back on the ship, we’ll tour Cu Lao Gieng Island by sampan and motor cart and then begin a guided excursion at a family workshop that hand-crafts sampans. Next we’ll visit a family that makes the traditional Vietnamese conical hats from palm leaves and bamboo. They’re primarily meant as protection from sun and rain, but they are also used as baskets to carry home goods from the market. This evening Avalon Saigon will take us to Chau Doc.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

day 9, november 12

In Chau Doc a guide will take us on a walking tour through the local market, where people will be buying and selling fish, meat and produce. Then we embark on an excursion down the backwaters of the mighty Mekong; we’ll pass floating homes, merchants in speedboats, religious sites, a dried-goods market and more. After lunch sampans will bring us to the village of Long Khanh for a demonstration of traditional cotton-weaving. Back onboard, we’ll enjoy a relaxing dinner while our ship sets sail for the Cambodian border. Tomorrow morning we will be docked in Phnom Penh!

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

day 10, november 13

Today we’ll tour this famous city by private cyclo, visiting the royal palace and the spectacular silver pagoda as well as the National Museum, which features an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts. This afternoon we’ll have the option of a guided tour of a local brewery that will end with free-flowing Cambodian beer. And finally, just before dinner, children from an orphanage will perform local song and dance numbers.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

day 11, november 14

We’re still in Phnom Penh, and this morning we’ll visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the infamous Killing Fields for a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime. Or you may prefer to tour the city’s lively central market by tuk-tuk, a motorized three-wheeler. After lunch Avalon Saigon will depart Phnom Penh and continue downriver to our next stop, Wat Hanchey, while we enjoy leisure time on the ship.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

day 12, November 15

Wat Hanchey is a thriving, colorful hilltop temple complex (both Buddhist and Hindu) that dates back to the 8th Century. We’ll be driven to the top of the hill, where we will receive the traditional water blessing by the monks. After lunch we’ll take a guided walk through the rural village of Angkor Ban. We’ll visit a traditional Khmer home and interact with children at a school. Tonight our ship will cruise to our next stop, Konpong Louang.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

day 13, November 16

Today’s guided sightseeing will take in the silversmith village in Konpong Louang, where we’ll learn how craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn silver into works of art. Next we’ll board an oxcart for a ride through the lovely Cambodian countryside—stopping along the way to meet a farmer and learn about his daily life. This afternoon we’ll simply relax and enjoy the scenery slipping by on the Tonle River. Tomorrow morning we’ll be back in Phnom Penh.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14, November 17

This is disembarkation day. From the ship we will go to the airport for a short flight to Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor, considered to be among the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth. On arrival we’ll check into the Park Hyatt Siem Reap.

 

After lunch we’ll go by tuk-tuk to explore the temples, beginning with fabulous Angkor Wat with its five trademark towers—the very symbol of Cambodia. Next we’ll visit Angkor Thom and explore Bayon Temple with its 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas-relief sculptures. Then the evening will be ours, to explore charming Siem Reap—or you may prefer an optional guided excursion to the Cambodian circus.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Lunch

day 15, November 18

Today our guided tours of the Angkor temple ruins will continue at Ta Prohm, where thick tree roots cover the walls just as they did when European explorers found them. Then we’ll visit Banteay Srei, a unique temple built on a smaller scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. On the way we’ll stop at a village famous for making Khmer noodles by hand. This afternoon you may choose an optional exploration of the city of Siem Reap or a return to the temple complex, both by tuk-tuk. And this evening, after dinner, the Apsara Dance Company will bring ancient Khmer culture to life for us through music, song and dance.

Included Meals – Breakfast, Dinner

day 16, november 19

Our Vietnam & Cambodia tour ends with breakfast this morning. We will check out of our hotel and transfer to the airport to begin the long journey home.

Included Meals – Breakfast

The Details

Pricing:

  • $9990 per person, double occupancy

  • single supplement $3690

  • Upgrade to top deck $500

  • Optional excursions are priced individually 

Included:

  • One sighted guide for every two clients

  • All activities and meals as described

  • Airport and other internal transfers

  • Hotels mentioned or similar

  • Shipboard gratuities 

Not Included:

  • International flights

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Shore-excursion gratuities

About Our Ship

  • The all-suites Avalon Saigon delivers the best cruise experience on the Mekong River. The ship takes just 36 passengers, yet it is the same overall size as ships that take twice as many people, and it is designed to venture easily into areas where other cruise ships cannot. 

  • The Avalon Saigon is decorated with a classic colonial charm, which suits the Vietnam and Cambodia experience, plus the modern features expected from Avalon. 

  • Each Panorama Suite features 245 square feet of living space with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows that create river cruising's only Open-Air Balcony. You'll also find ample room to roam on board, while never feeling crowded. 

  • From the air-conditioned Panorama Lounge to the open-air observation lounge and spacious, open-seating dining room, you'll find plenty of seating and inviting spots to relax. With lounges located at the front of the ship, you'll always have a great forward-focused view no matter where you sit. 

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access in the lounges (where signal is available). Other amenities include a fitness room and spa.

  • The crew embodies Avalon's “you first” spirit from start to finish. From the reception staff and bartender to wait staff and room attendant, we will experience exquisite service and relaxed luxury. 

Please Note

  • A $750 deposit per person is required to hold space ($250 is nonrefundable); the balance will be due 90 days prior to the trip.

  • Mind’s Eye Travel recommends trip insurance ($399 per person)

  • Our trips are non-smoking and not combinable with any other offer. 

  • Until further notice Mind's Eye Travel clients and guides must be fully vaccinated (including booster shots) against COVID-19.